Can Allergies Cause High Blood Pressure

by Garreth Myers


What is an allergy? When our immune system reacts to allergen, that is allergy-causing substances, we have what we called an allergy. Under normal circumstances, our immune system protects our bodies from substances that are likely to make us sick, but sometimes the immune system mistakenly considers a certain substance as harmful even when it is not and therefore we develop an allergy and this substance is called an allergen. An allergic reaction may include skin rashes, inflammatory reactions in the digestive and respiratory system. Different people are allergic to different substances, the allergic reactions also vary.

High blood pressure is also known as hypertension. It occurs when the heart pumps a lot of blood whereas the arterial walls are narrow. Therefore, the pressure of the blood against the walls of the arteries is very high. This high pressure can cause a lot of health problems such as strokes and heart attacks. This condition can easily be diagnosed and can be controlled relatively easily.

Allergies and High Blood Pressure

So can allergies cause high blood pressure? No, allergies cannot directly cause high blood pressure. However, they can indirectly increase the blood pressure. Firstly, certain allergy relieving medications constrict the nasal blood vessels. This is helpful in soothing allergic symptoms, but is not helpful for blooding pressure because they can also tighten the blood vessels elsewhere in the body. This constriction of blood vessels makes the heart work harder, that is, it pumps more blood, consequently increasing the blood pressure. Secondly, some allergies can cause breathing problems, especially when one is asleep. This can cause gasping or sleep apnea which can eventually lead to hypertension.

In some cases, allergies may cause muscle spasms or cramps. And these spasms do not go away till the allergen remains in the body. Arterial walls are also made of muscles and just in case they have spasms as well, their circumference may reduce. At the same time, the amount of blood being pumped by the heart does not go down and therefore, this raises the blood pressure. Once the body is rid of the allergens, the muscle spasms also stop and the arteries go back to their original size and the blood pressure drops automatically.

Therefore if one suffers from hypertension as well as allergies, it is important for him to be very careful when picking his anti-allergy medication. More so, the blood pressure medication taken by the patient may not be capable to countering the side-effects of an allergy cure; the side- effect being that of increase in blood pressure. This does not mean that all allergy medications can complicate blood pressure problems. However, it is important to consult a doctor before going for an allergy medication if you are a sufferer of hypertension and are allergic to certain substances. In such cases, it is better to avoid self-medication and also avoid over the counter medication as you may not be aware of their side effects.

Decongestants, notably phenylephrine or pseudoephedrine are known to tighten smaller blood vessels and these are found in many anti-allergy medications or many allergy medications to reduce allergic reactions and symptoms. For instance, if an anti-allergy medication has D at the end of the product name, it is highly possible that it contains a decongestant and therefore it is important to be careful about consuming it. Before doing so, get advice from your health care provider. Decongestants may raise blood pressure. However since they provide immediate relief, they may be useful. Yet, they should not be had for long periods. More so, it is all the more essential to consult a doctor before doing so, since your hypertension medication is not effective against the blood pressure causing effects of a decongestant. A same product may be available without the 'D and this is a safer option for high blood pressure patients because it most probably contains an antihistamine which is safe for hypertension whereas the product with a D in all likelihood contains pseudoephedrine which is a decongestant and may be dangerous.

So what you take if you suffer from both allergies and hypertension? Antihistamines and corticosteroids are better options for hypertension patients. Antihistamines as the name suggests have histamine blocking properties. They may be available in the form of tablets, capsules, nasal sprays and eye drops. As for corticosteroids, they are available in pill form, nasal sprays and eye drops as well. While antihistamines can be found over the counter, the corticosteroids may be bought only under prescription. All the same, whatever be the allergy treatment a hypertension patient opts for; he needs to necessarily check with this doctor before starting the treatment. What may be suited for one hypertension patient, may not suit another hypertension patient.

Neither an allergy, not blood pressure can be ignored, both may lead to serious complications. It is best to discuss treatment options for both conditions with your doctor to prevent further health


Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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